Skip to main content

About that last post . . .

I disagreed with my previous post even as I was writing it. It was something of a thought experiment. I was reading Weike Wang’s short story and thinking “Wow, her writing is amazing and she’s Chinese American. How come most Chinese American guys I know don’t communicate like this? Oh and it’s about dating a white guy and it’s about power dynamics. And oh, she’s married to a white guy in real life. Let’s write a provocative post about the intersection of all these ideas”.


I’m now aware of the numerous problems with my opinion piece starting with the misleading, clickbait title. I don’t actually think Asian American (AA) women have more “courage”, nor is the post really about courage. I couldn’t come up with a word that captures the specific aspect of EQ that involves verbal emotional expression, but Brene Brown’s concept of vulnerability came to mind and that’s how courage came about. I made unsubstantiated negative generalizations about AA women, AA men, and white men. I projected my experience on AA men. I was not fully aware of how I was coming from a specific white cultural lens in critiquing AA me. I knew I was evaluating EQ from an exclusively Western perspective, but wasn’t sensitive to how this could be interpreted as demeaning and emasculating to AA men. EQ is culturally defined and behaviors such as eye contact in conversation are not equally valued between cultures. I was aware of history (Chinese Exclusion Act, etc.) but felt my experience reigned supreme. I wasn’t intending to communicate “manning up” was the exclusive means for AA men to overcome structural racism but that improving one’s EQ is vital to healthy relationships, especially in the face of marginalization.

So why did I write it the way I did?

It was clumsy and brutal way of asking a question and want to have the honesty to face difficult answers. Essentially, I wanted to ask: “What if certain stereotypes are rooted in something real?” Even if somebody says something racist, it’s possible there’s some validity to what they’re saying that we could learn from. My decades-long experience with AA men in the bay area Chinese church network has given me a data set from which to draw conclusions. Do some of my observations conform to stereotypes? Absolutely. Does it mean I treat people like stereotypes? I try not to. Generalizations are helpful only when you have limited information about a person. They need to be constantly re-evaluated as one gets to know another in relationship. 

In the end, it’s about having the ruthless honesty to ask questions where we might not like the answers and not reflexively dismiss them because they don't align with our ideological commitments. If an atheist tells me “Christians are deluded and judgmental”, I don’t argue that not all Christians are like that or he’s wrong because God does exist. Rather, there’s something real and true about the person’s experience that would be helpful for me to learn from. 

Is it possible my conclusions are wrong? That what I think is real and true is actually internalized racism? That I’ve been conditioned to think about myself and AA men in a certain way and that I’m dealing with structures of racism I’m ignorant of? 


But the key is my generalizations are based off observations of something I experienced as real and true. And that’s why racism, misogyny and all kinds of bigoted behaviors are difficult to change because our brains are wired to detect patterns and once we latch onto one, confirmation bias comes into play and those neural patterns are reinforced. 

So I have racist, misogynist, and self-loathing thoughts and they’re not easy to change. That’s what the Bible calls “sin”. I’m helpless to this addictive pattern of thinking. Simply repeating the mantra of “tolerance” or watching Franchesca Ramsey videos will not address the root issue. It does not alter the validity of my experience. Unless I can begin to re-frame my perspective from a different and more accurate lens, I’m stuck in Groundshog Day or End of Tomorrow or whatever looping time travel movie you relate to.

And that’s why I’m grateful for my friends. A number of them disagreed with my post and cared enough to gently explain why. I had a number of conversations off-line. One acquaintance I barely know reached out and we had an hour long video chat and we’re now on our way to becoming friends. It’s a testament to the body of Christ that I can write something stupid and racist and make a friend with someone who vehemently objects to what I wrote. 

That’s why I believe friendship and discipleship are intertwined. Friends will let you say dumb things and then care enough to correct you (or attempt to) and love and accept you regardless. They will continue to share their heart with you and help you along in the journey of change and growth. 

In the end, I do believe improving Western EQ skills like eye contact is helpful in spite of the unique obstacles many AA men face. At the end of the day, we as AA men need to own our stuff. Our baggage - the stereotypes, structural racism, and orientalism - didn’t come from us but it is now ours to contend with. I recognize we live in a fallen culture but learning how to have healthy relationships in a fallen culture is important. One can indulge in self-pity and blaming but at the end of the day, I have to carry my own baggage. The obstacles are important to highlight because it’s the reality of the load and it’s important to know what I'm carrying so I can consciously divest myself of it. 

As a result of the feedback, I’ll not only own my own baggage but also be more cautious about pointing out other people’s. I’m committed to checking my own privilege and racist thoughts before pointing out what I view as others’ dysfunctional behavior. I’m grateful that I have brothers and sisters who would lovingly point out the plank in my eye before I earnestly try to pluck the splinter out of theirs.  


  1. The site is very interesting, you made some compelling remarks and the matter is on point. I learn some new stuff from it too,
    Toon Cup 2017 best online game Break The Cup For boy Rapunzel Fashionista Busy Day

  2. I want to read your articles.I really appreciate for this great information,so happy to find good place to many here in the post.I think many people love and need them.
    Kick The Buddy online game online game Def Island Real Flight Simulator best game for free


  3. Succeed! It could be one of the most useful blogs we have ever come across on the subject. Excellent info! I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort very well. Thanks for the huge help
    bob the robber 4 japan free , fireboy and watergirl 4 unblocked games , mario banzai online ,

  4. Them believes altogether best suited. Every one of lesser areas ended up being built by lots of track record instruction. I like the necessary paperwork a good deal.
    miniclip games unblocked at school, a10 game online, Jogo para criança

  5. These articles are exactly what I need. I have a liking for your posts. Thanks to your sharing, I can enrich my knowledge. Of course, I wish that you will write and share many posts. Do you know that I wait for them?
    kizi games
    friv jogos gratis
    friv Games to play


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Dad's Review of Passport 2 Purity

[3,100 words, 11 minute read] The sex talk is one of the most dreaded conversations parents anticipate having with their children. To make things easier, an entire industry exists to help parents with sex education. Dozens of books have been written to help parents navigate this treacherous topic with their progeny. One of the best known among evangelicals is called the Passport 2 Purity Getaway package . It is produced by FamilyLife, a division of Cru (former Campus Crusade for Christ) and consists of a five lecture CD package including a journal and exercises designed as a weekend retreat for a pre-pubescent child and his/her parent(s). Passport 2 Purity was not my initiative. Our trip came about because Judy had heard from several home-schooling mom friends how they had taken their daughters on a road trip to go through the CDs. She even heard how a mom took a trip with husband and two sons to through the curriculum. So a couple months ago, Judy suggested we take our two older boy

Why Asians Run Slower

My brother got me David Epstein's book The Sports Gene . It is a fascinating quick read. If you're interested in sports and science, it will enthrall you.  I finished it in three days. Epstein's point is that far more of an athlete's performance is due to genetics than due to the so-called "10,000 hour" rule promulgated by books such as Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin (both which are very good). The 10,000 hour rule states that any person can reach expert level of performance in a sport if they devote 10,000 hours of deliberate and intentional practice.  That's a lot of hours. Most people aren't capable of anywhere close. And that's precisely Epstein's point. Someone who devotes 10,000 hours of sport-specific practice is likely genetically gifted for the sport in extraordinary ways AND genetically gifted in their ability to persevere and benefit from practice. Therefore, a person who can pra

Short Buffed Asian Guys (SBAGs)

I've always wanted to be tall. That didn't work out so well and I've settled for getting bigger. So now I lift weights, a pastime that I've taken up in fits and starts over the years. I thought about drinking protein shakes to get huge. Judy said no. She said I don't want you to become one of those guys. The Short Buffed Asian Guy (SBAG). It seems I'm not the only one to consider this approach. Legions of SBAGs testify to this. And it seem like the shorter you are, the more muscular you have to be in order to compensate for one's lack of height. I don't know any tall buffed Asian guys (Jeremy Lin does not count - he clearly has a neck). So what's with this phenomenon? First, Asian men are on average shorter than American men. And in my book, anyone 5'8" or under is short (which includes me). There are all kinds of insecurities that go with being short, especially for men. You look up to people. You make less   money . You fee